This kid can focus

I’m sure I won’t be singing this tune in a couple of years, but man.  When this kid wants to focus on something, he can FOCUS.  Yesterday, Mark spent a SOLID ten minutes working with his straw-cup.  He realized that the straw was supposed to go in, that it had to be attached to the rubber thingy at the top, and that when he got it all together he could (theoretically) drink from it.

So, it’s not attached anymore.  Hm.  

This part needs to go in…

And then I need this part… (Also, do you love how he has to have his mouth open when he’s focusing?  It’s like when I put on mascara.  C’mon, I can’t be the only one who does that!)

And it goes right here…

They aren’t connected, but ta-dah!  

And that’s the blog for today.  Thrill-a-minute in these parts.  🙂


On the farm

This past weekend, we took Mark to Ryan’s family’s farm.  It’s been in the family for over a hundred years!  It’s not an animal-y farm, but a strictly radish-green-onion-cilantro farm.  Mark had the chance to go on the tractors and “pick” some of the vegetables.  It was BEASTLY hot out, but super fun!

Ryan’s dad and brother run the farm now, and Grandpa was more than happy to take Mark up on the tractor!

Mark really enjoyed steering and trying to work the gear shift.  

Just a kid in some corn.  

Family on the tractor!

I think these look good, Grandpa!

Seven Quick Takes from the Beach and the Heat

It’s been a little quiet here because we were enjoying some time with Ryan’s family out at the beach over the weekend.  It was really, really fun and we had a blast.  This week was full of some relaxing, sweating in the heat, and playing outside!  Perfect for summer.

Before we get too far in, the obligatory family photos:


The top photo may very well be on our Christmas card and I don’t even care how much there’s sand on my pants or my hair is a  mess.  Mark is smiling.  Near the camera.  🙂  The bottom photo has all of Ryan’s immediate family in it.  Awesome!



1) There are beach people and there are mountain people.

I am now, and always have been, a beach person.  Sure, I like mountains as much as the next person, but if you can give me sand, water, and fog (yes, fog), I’m about the happiest clam ever.  Seriously, how could you think of mountains, when you can have this?!


Oh fog, how I love you!

2) Mark and the sand!

This was not Mark’s first time at the beach.  We went when he was about four months old; he thought the sand was really great, but wasn’t so much a fan of the water.

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“I don’t have any feet and I don’t care!”

This time, he was SUPER excited about the sand.

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“Are you guys SEEING this stuff?!”

3) Mark and the water!

He was REALLY excited about the water!


We did “one-two-three” (which I used to think was just fun, but now I realize that it’s both fun and a way to shave about an hour off of the time it takes for you to walk anywhere) to the ocean, and Mark was RUNNING to get there.


He even stuck his toes in and didn’t cry this time.  Hooray!


4) Mark on his very first carousel ride.  

When I was little, we used to go to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and ride the carousel there.  I loved it.  I was hoping that Mark would have as good of a time on his first ride.


He totally did.  From the first up and down of the horse, he was super excited and smiley.

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“I’m so happy about this, Mama, that I just have to eat your face!”

About halfway through, he started to get a little dizzy, so I had him focus on the pinwheels and the lights so it wouldn’t affect him as much.

5) Taking his shoes off!

Okay, so I’m late on this one.  Mark’s been able to do this on his own for about a month now, but I keep forgetting to take pictures.  As soon as we get in the door, Mark will take off his sandals.  He’s still working on the whole getting-your-foot-out-of-the-sandal thing, but he can usually shake them off.


Not pictured: in the last month, he’s figured out how to go from standing to sitting (he doesn’t crawl, remember, so this isn’t as natural for him).  We practiced on the bed in my room.  He stood up, I gently poked him in his belly till he fell back into a sitting position saying “sit!” while I did it.  He thought it was a great game and we played it for several minutes.  After that, it was just a matter of practicing it on the hardwood and he was good to go.

Oh, if only all kinds of training were that easy!

No pictures of this because it’s really not interesting to take a photo of a kid trying to sit.  They just look… weird.

6) Splash pad fun

It’s been a bit hot here the last several days, and we went to hang out with some friends of ours at the splash pad near their house.


Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of Mark and Ensley together, as they didn’t both want to be in the water at the same time.  😦  Another day!

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Clearly, Mark was super excited.  He kept running back to Ryan and I after he got went and yelling in his incoherent toddler language: “a bdad blida bib da!”.  We think we meant: “Oh my gosh, guys!  Look at ALL THE WATER!”

7) Sand in the City

Considering what a good time Mark had with the sand at the beach, we figured it would be fun to take him to the Sand in the City thing downtown.  There were all of these teams competing in sculpting their piles of sand.  They were pretty impressive, and I hope I can find their final products online (we left before they were done).

They also had a huge pile of sand off to the side for the kids to play in.  Mark was a little tentative at first, but liked raking the sand and destroying the makeshift sandcastle Ryan made.

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Whew!  So much in so little time.  I hope you aren’t overwhelmed by photos.  If not, you can see more 7QTs here.

Ice cream and Mark in a Box

There’s a place in town that makes ice cream in individual servings, and they freeze it with liquid nitrogen.


It’s pretty fun to watch.


And Mark thinks it’s pretty fun to eat.  🙂


This week, we received a VERY large package from my Uncle Larry.  He sent us a toy box that he made for his boys when they were young.  While I was really excited about the toy box (it’s the perfect size and padded!), Mark was much more excited about the box the toybox came in.IMG_5498

It’s his current favorite toy.


His current favorite snack?  Frozen banana and peanut butter on a stick.  Yum!


Why bother buying toys?

Mark has a number of things that he likes to play with that aren’t toys.

Some of them that are NOT okay are:
– Mom’s phone
– the blinds
– any and all cords
– Mom’s camera
– Dad’s math books

Some of the things that ARE okay are:
– Dad’s phone
– wooden spoons, plastic bowls, and metal pans
– Mom’s watch
– the laundry basket

… and…


Wrapping paper rolls!

“Best toy eveeeeeeer!”

And then he tried to stab his father…

“One of these days, you’re going DOWN!”

But, it’s okay because they made up later.

“Aaaaaaaah!” (I love you, Dada!)  “Aaaaaaaaaah!” (I love you too, Mark!)

Seven Quick Takes (of the last week-ish)

Hi hi.

It’s been pretty busy over here.  There’s been much stuff going on and it’s been HOT out friends.  It’s usually not that hot here in the PNW, but we have about a month of really hot weather (over 90) sprinkled throughout the summer, and some of this last week was in that category.  Before I use up all of my material before I even get to the quick takes, here you go!

1. Last Saturday — Ice Cream!  And beer!

Ryan and I try to go to as many brew fests as we can during the summer.  We homebrew (we’ve talked about this), and we are always excited to try some new brews.

The summer usually starts off with an organic brew fest (because, hi, PNW).  It’s pretty family-friendly and we took Mark last year when he was a babe.  This year, we brought him as a toddler, and it was still pretty fun.


No, there’s nothing in the glass. 🙂

On our way out, I had to get some ice cream.  I love, love ice cream and I love even more trying out new places and new flavors.  I decided on the apricot hefeweizen (which was AMAZING) and we decided to give Mark his first taste of an ice cream cone.


What?  You have to SHOW them what to do… right?

He’s not too sure about cold things and, as you can see, he still needs to work a little bit on sticking his tongue out, but we’re making progress.


He can stick his tongue out, I swear.  

2. “Is it hot enough for you?  Is it hot?—” on Tuesday

So.  Hot.  100 degrees.  Ugh.

We busted out with this sprinkler thing that Mark got from some friends for his birthday.  You’re supposed to turn it on really high and then run through it while the little spouts go all crazy and get you all kinds of wet.


Getting wet is really serious business.  

He did not care for that idea.  What he did want to do was sit (squat) in the grass and point the hose at both us and himself.


Also, please ignore the brown grass.  That’s what happens in the summer when you have a lawn with no sprinkler system.

3. A boy and his perch


We’ve been keeping the front door open, but the screen door locked, the last week or so to get the air circulating.  Mark has decided that this is the best place to checkout the outside world.


Also, bonus, he likes to lead Ryan around the house like this.  It has nothing to do with this Take, but I had to include this somewhere.

4. Hiking in nature on Wednesday

It was going to be warm on Wednesday, but we decided to go hiking in the middle of the day when it wasn’t too bad.  There was lots of shade, we enjoyed a picnic lunch, and Mark had a great time in the backpack.  As I mentioned in my previous post, he LOVES saying “wha’s at?” to everything.  So, on the hike, that’s what we heard over and over and over again.  “Wha’s at?” “A leaf, buddy.”  “Wha’s at?” “A tree.”  “Wha’s at?” “Another leaf, sweetie.”


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Also, carrying a 23lb toddler in a backpack up steep switchbacks makes you feel like you’re on the episode of Biggest Loser where they have the contestants strap on a vest of all the weight they’ve lost and make them run a 5K or something.  Hard.  Work.

5. Fourth of July Friday!

We went over to Ryan’s parents’ house on Friday and had a barbeque.  Mark, as always, loved being outside.

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We didn’t do fireworks with Mark this year.  He LOST IT at about 7:20 and was super tired.  We put him to bed, and he was out like a light.  Don’t worry though!  There were LOTS of fireworks in our neighborhood at about 11:30pm (BECAUSE THAT MAKES SENSE) and the poor guy woke up a bunch of times.  But it was great because I LOVE losing sleep.  Uuuuuggggghh.

6. Mama thing: Books

I’ve been tearing through the novels I’m going to be teaching next year, and spending a couple of hours each day reading.  It feels a little bit like college again when my roommates would walk through the living room and think I’d been relaxing for the last couple of hours with a nice beachy read, when really I’d been slogging through chapters about dorsal fins in Moby Dick.

There’s no picture of this because… boring.

7. Mama thing: Baking

The best BEST thing about it being summer is that I actually have some time to bake.  I’ve made ALL of these things in the last week or so and every single one of them is delicious and going to live in my baking rotation forever and ever and ever.

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Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread from Joy the Baker

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Pink Lemonade Bars from Smitten Kitchen

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Peanut Butter Banana Bon Bons from Joy the Baker

Mark likes the bon bons:



That’s it for me this week, friends.  I hope you have a good week and if you’re up to looking up some other Quick Takes, check out the link-up over at Jen’s.


I think the one thing that Mark has really developed in the last few weeks has been his language.  As I’ve mentioned before, he sounds a lot like he’s speaking another language that no one can understand but him.  It sounds like another language, though; it’s not just the same sound repeated over and over and over again.

While he says lots of words marginally well, (“I did it”, “touch it”, “be-button”, etc.), the one phrase that he utters over and over again is “Wha’s dat?”

While this adorable and charming most of the time, it gets to be a little much when he’s pointing at the picture of the wolf in his animal book and I have to do the sound AND sat the name over and over and OVER again.

It’s also a little less adorable when he points at me, turns to Ryan, and says. “Wha’s dat?”

Wanna try that again, kiddo?  🙂